Jun 10, 2014 1:21am
The Corliss Group Latest Tech Review: ‘RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN'
While I find the ‘Right to be forgotten’ law/precedent interesting and even convivial, the fact remains that such a law may have grave implications on our society. By society, I mean the global village we find ourselves in today and the throng of imperfect, inadequate and sometimes inhuman inhabitants (e.g. BH), we find within this space.
Undoubtedly, we all have things and phases of lives we would like forgotten, but for the greater good of society this might not always be appropriate and fair to all parties concerned – particularly when the action in question impacts on others directly.
The question is this, ‘does the right to keep an information private/hidden/and away from public eye supersede the right (Freedom) of the public to that information?’
The ‘Right to Forgotten’ Law recently came under fire and into proper scrutiny on May 13, 2014 when search engine (research) giant, Google (GOOG) lost a data privacy suit against it at the European Court in Luxembourg.
The European Court of Justice in its ruling confirmed that an EU law exists which allows citizens to claim a “right to be forgotten” stating that Google is bound to obey this law and must enforce it.
The court’s ruling established that armed with a “right to be forgotten,” an individual can make a request to Google, asking it to remove information about them from its search guide. This request could be pictures displaying youthful exuberance, moments of indiscretion, offensive comments on a social media website, malicious allegations, old publications of financial impropriety, links to old debts, notifications of court orders, unfavourable court orders, company filings, etc.
This precedent laid down, which currently applies across the EU, now forces Google and other online publishers to handle all information received differently.
Holistically speaking, the law imposes on Google, the duty/obligation to manage content on its servers and links. Google is effectively responsible for content, even if it was simply processing it on its servers and presenting links. If it receives a legitimate request to delete information on those servers, it must do so, even if that information is still published legally on the internet.
After the ruling, Google Inc. (GOOG) has had consultations with data-protection regulators and just two days ago, Friday May 30th, 2014 the company came up with an online tool to remove personal information where the need arises. The new web form allows citizens in 28 European countries to request the Google search platform to remove results for queries that include their names where those results are ‘inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.’
Interestingly, the arguments for and against this law and the decision of the court, has been diverse and far-reaching beyond the EU.
In the United States of our America, where the scales are tilted in favour of Free Speech and Freedom of Information, as against the right to privacy, observers and critics actually consider the ruling a “Blow” against free speech.”
Nigeria on the other hand, currently has no significant Data/information or Privacy protection law (An Act). Whilst our Constitution (Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999) provides for our Right to Privacy in Section 37, it is not far-reaching enough to cater for Data/information protection abuse. Nonetheless, certain precedents such as the case of Ariori v. Elemo (1983) 1 SC 13, which attempted to take care of this, by establishing public interest over and above private interests.
Data protection involves strategic measures to manage and safeguard the unauthorised access or use of data, and efforts at enacting an appropriate data protection law in Nigeria – one that is far reaching, has met with great hurdles after seven attempts.
The first attempt was in 2005 – a bill for an Act to provide for Computer Security and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Bill was proposed; the next was the Cyber Security and Data Protection Agency Bill 2008; followed by the Electronic Fraud Prohibition Bill 2008; the Nigeria Computer Security and Protection Agency Bill 2009; Computer Misuse Bill 2009 and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act (Amendment) Bill 2010, and again the Cyber Security and Information Protection Agency Bill 2012, which has gone through its 2nd reading.
Speaking on the issue, Anti-Counterfeit expert and Partner in charge of Brand Protection, Media and Entertainment Practice at commercial law firm Jackson Etti & Edu, Obafemi Agaba, notes that a privacy law or precedent such as the “Right to be Forgotten” ruling handed down against Google, should ordinarily take into consideration public safety and interest.
In his view, “whilst we have no set privacy laws in Nigeria, an individual can have recourse under the fundamental rights provision in the 1999 constitution as well as in common law. I also believe that a Data Protection/Privacy law in any part of the world should take into consideration the good of the public and their right to know.”
He continues, “That part of an individual’s life which directly affects or impacts the public should be left open and accessible to the public. As a legal practitioner and a privacy expert, I always advice my clients about the position of the law where the individual’s interests conflicts with that of the law,” he concluded.
However, Mena Ajakpovi an expert in Commercial litigation, whose clients range from public officers to artists and star entertainers, believes that there must be an “established’ overriding statutory public interest” before such data can be considered ‘NOT PRIVATE’ and made accessible to the public.
Citing the case of Ariori v. Elemo, he explains, “In the face of that responsibility, if pulling down or removing that information or data by an individual pre-disposes him/her to commit that an offence or infringing on the right of another.”
The critical issue however, is striking that balance between allowing individuals control of their online presentation and ensuring that the system is not abused to remove stories in the public interest.
While Civil rights and Public Interest advocates continue to express concerns as to who has the role of deciding what is in the public’s interest, another Nigerian Legal Practitioner, Ayodele Oni does not think it is Google’s role or any other Search engine to make public an individual’s private information that he/she wants hidden or kept private from public eye.
Hear him, “It is trite (commonplace) that a person is not entitled to a reputation he or she does not have. That said, to the extent that there are other records publicly available, I believe that persons can request a firm like Google to delete their offensive records. Where anyone needs to conduct a criminal check, then they can visit bodies statutorily empowered or obliged to keep same (e.g. the Police or the EFCC) and not firms such as Google etc.
“We need to work on our data storage and keeping system in Nigeria like the credit bureau newly established in Nigeria. So for credits now, there is now typically a credit record check. We can adopt that for other issues such as criminal, bankruptcy and the likes,” he said
Situations where data protection might be overlooked are found in legislations such as the European Convention on Human rights, which allows access to a government agency or public authority in a democratic society – but must only do so where it is absolutely necessary and is in the interest of national security, public safety, the economic well-being of the country, the prevention of crime, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
In the weeks that have passed after the ruling, the questions persist. Questions that bother on, “What happens when a budding politician with a criminal conviction or unsavory public comments that are mentioned in an online post wants it removed? Would it be right for content censorship to clear the path to them becoming a public figure? What happens to the fiancée of a convicted fraudster who may be deprived of the right to see information relating to their past because he/she has asked for it to be removed from Google searches or any other search platform?
As they continue to lament the implication of the ruling, FOI proponents and promoters believe that it has set an unusual and unwelcome precedent, whilst describing it as radical.
Google has confirmed that since the ruling was announced a few weeks ago, they have received thousands of requests, including a scandal-hit politician, a paedophile convicted of possessing images of child abuse, and a doctor who wanted negative reviews of his practice removed.
One thing is certain though, ‘Reputation Managers’, ‘Publicists’ or whatever they are called these days, are having a field day now.
But the question remains…..TO KNOW OR NOT TO KNOW. What Prevails?
Monte B Cowboy
Jun 11, 2014 11:06am
Re: The Corliss Group Latest Tech Review: ‘RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN'
"We are seeing the end of rationality. This is typical of the levels to which our society and Cultures have degenerated into. When facts can be culled, changed, or altered at the whim of anyone, what is the value of news or any information which is maintained in a database?"
How about the way "the news-reporting facts" are being disseminated and reported?
Tweeting is NOT journalism. Making a smartphone call is NOT journalism. Exchanging an email is NOT journalism. Taping or filming media content is NOT journalism. Talking is NOT journalism. Sitting in front of an HDTV camera, in a professionally-engineered studio, and reading from a teleprompter is NOT journalism. Playing YouTube clips in a video studio is NOT journalism. These are things that journalists do daily. Billions of other people are also doing these things daily! There is a HUGE difference between "journalists" reporting the news and "other people" reporting the news.
Journalism is "the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines or of broadcasting news on radio or television."
- oxford dictionary
Here in Colorado, our best universities have eviscerated their journalism curriculum(s). What's left of it is: how to tweet; how to blog; how to make a video, how to edit a video, and how to upload a video to youtube; etc.
The question is, how will we contextualize and square things without a real "consensus of the facts and their meanings" (what professional journalism used to provide us), while at the same time, scientists, scholars, and teachers are being demonized in the news media, and whistleblowers are being arrested?
We have a complete corporate takeover of our analog and digital media, our airwaves, our newspapers, and our news outlets. This is very dangerous. Today, each of us has a Google prompt on our screens, and we are expected to enter the search terms in order to get the news and info we want and need. Remember, the search results you will get depends upon your cookies' metadata, your gmail account and its content, and your search habits on Google and YouTube, etc. This means most of us will get different results from the exact same Google searches; the News is different for each of us; it's not repeatable, so it's not science. It's snake oil.
What are young people going to do to sort all this poop out? Good Luck, Game Over!
Is The Archive's Wayback Machine going to be sued? Will it get culled and edited for the sake of historical makeovers?Can you survive on 22 seconds of News Broadcasting per day?
Bill Moyers: "How did it happen? How did we sell what belonged to everyone?"
Marty Kaplan: "Part of it is the nexus of media, money, and special interest politics. The citizens have given the airwaves to the station. We own the electromagnetic spectrum and for free we give out licenses to television stations. Those stations, in turn, use that spectrum to get enormous amounts of money from special interests and from members of Congress in order to send these ads back to us to influence us. So we lose it in both ways. The other day, the president of CBS, Les Moonves, was reported by "Bloomberg" to have said "Super PACs may be bad for America, but they're … good for CBS." I mean, there it is. This is a windfall every election season, which seems not to even stop ever, for the broadcast industry. So not only are they raking it in, they're also creating a toxic environment for civic discourse.
People don't hear about issues. They hear these negative charges, which only turn them off more. The more negative stuff you hear, the less interested you are in going out to vote. And so they're being turned off, the stations are raking it in, and the people who are chortling all the way to Washington and the bank are the ones who get to keep their hands on the levers of power. So one of the big reasons that things are at the pass they are is that the founders never could have anticipated that a small group of people, a financial enterprise and the technology could create this environment in which facts, truth, accountability, that stuff just isn't entertaining. So because it's not entertaining, because the stations think it's ratings poison, they don't cover it on the news."
Monte B Cowboy
Jun 28, 2014 10:09am
Re: What Prevails - the ‘RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN', or, '[ME] BEING DELETED'?
re: "One thing is certain though, ‘Reputation Managers’, ‘Publicists’ or whatever they are called these days, are having a field day now. [Yes! They are!] But the question remains…..TO KNOW OR NOT TO KNOW. What Prevails?"
Sadly, Grace, I'm just your Village Idiot. Sheeple are the prevailing "informational and demographic source" in the U.S.A. today!13 Ways to Be a Sheeple
and go into deep amnesia:
-- written by Eduard Ezeanu
01. Emulate Other People’s Goals in Life
02. Always Follow the Latest Trends
03. Buy Expensive Stuff just because it’s From Famous Brands
04. Hang Out With Mediocre People
05. Get All Your Information from Mainstream Media
06. Don’t Stay Too Well Informed
07. Adopt the Opinions of the Majority
08. Always Obey Authority Figures
09. Avoid Disapproval like the Plague
10. Reject Divergent Ideas by Default
11. Let Inertia Be Your Guide
12. Judge Others Based On Appearances and Stereotypes
13. If Your Life Sucks, Blame the SystemI worked for Ampex when they were manufacturing audio and video tape recorders
. I worked over thirty years in the television industry doing engineering and electronics maintenance for manufacturing, TV broadcasting, video production, computer animation, Cable News Channels, and Network Operations Centers. America's Silicon Valley 'Dream' has been Out-Sourced and American Workers are Occupied today
!"Information is power. When there is no vision, the people perish."The Lies That Lead to War
- Moyers and Company / PBS / June 27, 2014
BILL MOYERS:There couldn’t be a more timely book than this one -- "935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity," by Charles Lewis, one of our premier journalists who has inspired many of us in this craft to aim high and dig deep.
First and foremost an investigative reporter, Chuck Lewis produced some of “60 Minutes” hardest-hitting stories. He left CBS News to found the Center for Public Integrity, one of the largest, nonprofit, investigative reporting publishers in the world. He wrote this "New York Times" bestseller "The Buying of the President 2004" and four other investigative books.
As for his new one, those “935 Lies” in the title were uncovered in a three-year study of the rush to war in Iraq by the Center for Public Integrity and the Fund for Independence in Journalism. It is, Lewis writes, a record of what “…US government officials said to cause most Americans and their elected representatives to completely ignore facts, logic, and reason…”
Timely, too, for another reason: 50 years ago this August, President Lyndon Johnson, at whose side I was then working, seized on obscure and unverified events on the other side of the world to rush Congress into the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, a motion that he turned into a blank check for escalating the war in Vietnam. As Chuck Lewis rightly says, it was “a monumental misrepresentation.” Welcome.
BILL MOYERS: Welcome.
CHARLES LEWIS: It’s great to be here.
BILL MOYERS: Do you think George W. Bush lied about Iraq? Do you think Lyndon Johnson lied about Vietnam?
CHARLES LEWIS: Yes. I do. You know, I've, I tried very hard. You know, in the case of Bush, I actually was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Because if someone believes it, if it's a matter of conviction and they've persuaded themselves of something that's untrue, is that a lie? Or do they just have misguided beliefs that, you know. And I tried to give Bush the benefit of the doubt there.
But over time, each passing year, I've decided that I was way too generous. And the-- I look at flatly: did they make statements that weren't true? The answer is yes. Did they decide they were going to willfully do that over a period of two years? And was it an orchestrated campaign? And it was false statements.
Those were not coincidental. If you look who said what, when. And the when, especially, is quite relevant. This was an orchestrated campaign. Which, of course, Scott McClellan, the press secretary to Bush, publicly essentially said in his memoir after our report, “Iraq: The War Card” came out, by the way, a few months later. So, yeah, I believe in both cases, Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush, they knew what they were saying was not right. They knew it was not precise or accurate. And they knew it would mislead the American people but also do what they wanted to do. In both cases they had an agenda. That's what I believe.
BILL MOYERS: Well, you've said that we should never underestimate the capacity for self-delusion. Who was it who said that convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies? I mean, they can believe it so completely, be so self-deluded, right? That--
CHARLES LEWIS: Wow, exactly. All the Bush folks. Bush, Cheney. No one has done a candid interview with them where they actually pin their ears to the wall and ask them the tough ques-- I have not seen anyone do that. That's not coincidental. They’ve never been called before Congress. Now what is that about? We used to have this idea of checks and balances. We don’t have any checks and balances.
The Bush administration also destroys tens of millions of emails that no one could see. So, I mean, and no one said anything about it. They had 69 emails accounts that were done through the Republican Party while they were conducting business, knowing that's a private corporation, not part of the United States government.
So, all of this deceit and elaborate efforts to deflect the public from, oh, yeah, the truth, it's pretty outrageous. And we don't-- and so we'll never see some of those emails, ever, I think. And that, to me, is tragic. But, I have enough, I've seen enough now to make a conclusion. Yes, we were absolutely misled, and yes, they did lie. And they, maybe they were lying to themselves. Maybe they actually have come to believe what they're saying. They probably, many of them, some of them, at least, probably do. But they'll never say it on television. And I don't even know if they'll tell their spouses. Who will ever say? I don't know.
BILL MOYERS: Your book traces from the Gulf of Tonkin right on through the Vietnam War. And it traces from the buildup to Iraq to the aftermath of Iraq. And in both cases you clearly outline a pattern of deception that was continued over a long while.
CHARLES LEWIS: It's clear. In both cases those in power knew what they were doing. And those in power had a plan. And those in power orchestrated their plan. And the American people, in both instances, were completely in the dark.
And thousands of lives were lost in both cases. And the fact that we did and it's not a partisan thing. They were two different presidents, two different parties, 40 years apart. But guess what, folks? It was the same basic thing. We wanted to do a war of choice.
BILL MOYERS: When the reports came back from the Gulf of Tonkin, Lyndon Johnson believed them. I know that. I was--
CHARLES LEWIS: Right.
BILL MOYERS: --right there by the tragedy is he acted before they could be verified and before--
CHARLES LEWIS: Right.
BILL MOYERS: --he could get it right. And then he started telling himself that he did the right thing even though the initial information was misleading. And the more he told himself that he was doing the right thing, because there was this danger out here, and that he used it to get the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed, he then felt he had to keep telling it.
CHARLES LEWIS: Wow. Yeah.
BILL MOYERS: Pretty soon--
CHARLES LEWIS: Then you're a prisoner to your statements.
BILL MOYERS: Yeah.
CHARLES LEWIS: I understand that dynamic.
BILL MOYERS: What have you learned about how Washington goes to war?
CHARLES LEWIS: What I learned is that it's orchestrated. They frame it in a way that’s palatable to the largest possible audience. And they'll say it many, many, many times. That's the most recent way to do it.
BILL MOYERS: Why is the press so complicit in helping them frame it?
CHARLES LEWIS: Well, they basically do the stenography of listening to whatever those in power say and reporting it. They see their first duty wrongly, I think, to just report what's said with very little analysis or critical commentary. And they've been doing that, actually, for a very long time. But they've done it. It's gotten worse over time.
The Washington press corps is a prisoner of what they're assigned to cover. And that's basically whatever officialdom tells them.
But if you say something several times, hundreds of times; there are scientific studies that show we will tend to believe it if we've heard it a lot, even if we actually are not clear at all whether it's true. We just come to assume it's true, why otherwise we wouldn't be hearing this, right? And so we're basically prisoners of whatever folks tell us who are in power.
The problem now is government has more PR people and public relations firms than journalists. And we actually have 1/3 fewer professional reporters. That's a really rotten combination there. No wonder we're easily bamboozled.
BILL MOYERS: So for the last two weeks you could hardly turn on the television set without seeing the architects and the cheerleaders of the invasion of Iraq 11 years ago being asked their opinion now of what the US should do in Iraq.
So there was ABC's Jonathan Karl just the other day turning to Dick Cheney and asking, "What would you do in Iraq?" There wasn't a bit of irony in his voice or in his eyes.
CHARLES LEWIS: Well, it's an abomination. There's a moral problem here. They're not telling the full truth. And they're presenting themselves, the media, a false image. But I know, as a veteran from the networks, actually, I know exactly what that dynamic is. And you are rewarded for the gets you have. The people you-- big names that—
BILL MOYERS: The interview you get. Yeah, the--
CHARLES LEWIS: Right. And if you rip them to shreds, guess what, they're not going to come on your show. I've noticed that, as Mike Wallace's producer.
BILL MOYERS: You've lived in Washington how long now?
CHARLES LEWIS: Boy, wow, it's really scary; 40 years.
BILL MOYERS: So what did you learn in doing this book over the last nine years that you didn't know?
CHARLES LEWIS: Well, it's possible I was in danger of becoming cynical before. But I have to say the extent of the lies. I actually didn't realize the pervasiveness. I just thought that occasionally some turkey would lie. I mean, and but the, it was the extent of this. This is a systemic problem we have here. We have an inability to get the truth in real time. And the media has complete inability to find out the truth in real time. And when it's right in front of their face, they don't always report it. And so we really have a problem here because if we don't know what the truth is in this country, we don't have a country. It's end of story. It's not our country anymore. This is fundamental. And if the public doesn't care about facts then journalists, frankly, are not terribly relevant either. I had a professional crisis. Like, why am I doing this if no one cares and false information is what they believe, not the actual information?
BILL MOYERS: You know James Risen, "The New York Times" reporter, right?
CHARLES LEWIS: Uh-huh.
BILL MOYERS: He has refused to testify before a grand jury, under subpoena, and reveal a confidential source of information in his book, "State of War," about the secret US campaign against the Iranian nuclear program. The Supreme Court has refused to hear his case. And Risen now says he will go to jail if necessary. What are the stakes in this case?
CHARLES LEWIS: Well, they're very high. I mean, there's very-- they're very high for Jim in particular, obviously. He could end up in prison, found in contempt by a judge for not testifying, not answering some questions the government asks. If it gets to that point. There is a chance that the US Justice Department will choose to not proceed at this point. There's been at least some indication that's possible. I don't know that it'll happen. I'm certainly hoping that happens. But there's a dirty little secret about national security reporting. There's only about 15 or so people that do that full-time in the United States. In a country of 300-plus million people, only 15 or so do it for a full-time job. And Jim Risen happens to be one. And as you know he's the one who co-authored the domestic surveillance stories that won the Pulitzer back in '05.
Today the dirty little secret in Washington is that we have thousands of cameras. Every cell phone has a GPS tracking device. And you also can't check into any government agency and sign in to get into meet with someone because the government has that information, and they'll know who came.
And if you call them, their calls are potentially monitored. And there is a general belief widely shared that your emails are scraped, or at least accessed. And I know journalists who've been told privately by folks in the NSA and elsewhere that that's basically not untrue. And so you have a situation here. They know who his source was.
BILL MOYERS: They do?
CHARLES LEWIS: They do. And they have multiple ways in which they've identified who it is. And that's why they brought a case and they have enough evidence that they hope and they think to convict this person. They've already--
BILL MOYERS: They want to convict the source.
CHARLES LEWIS: They want to convict the source. And they want to have Jim Risen be the one who helps them do it. But they don't want to necessarily betray their intelligence ways that they found out that may or may, they may be legal, because they're government employees, but they're going to appear to be unseemly because they involved monitoring of employees and pulling all kinds of things.
So we have a little-- another strange thing going on here where the government doesn't really want to go anywhere near this subject. And so they would like-- so we're all looking at Jim Risen and whether he goes to prison. And the real issue is actually the government. What are they mad about? Well, he did a story and a chapter in his book, “State of War,” that actually showed that the CIA sent nuclear information to Iran. Oops. And they are livid.
BILL MOYERS: Something we might want to know about.
CHARLES LEWIS: Yep. Yeah, yeah. Exactly.
BILL MOYERS: Right? Might want to know that the government responsible to the people was actually making these serious mistakes?
CHARLES LEWIS: Yeah. It's unbelievable that they were doing that. And it's unbelievable. And so Risen breaks that story in the book. And they are mad that he did this. And they, frankly, embarrassed them. And so they're trying-- this is retribution. I think it has very little to do with anything but retribution.
But I also think what is really disturbing now is the difficulty of doing this type of reporting was never easy. Now it is probably more difficult than it's ever been in US history. And President Obama has used the Espionage Act against journalists more than any president in US history.
BILL MOYERS: I think even Nixon only used it once against--
CHARLES LEWIS: Right.
BILL MOYERS: --Daniel Ellsberg who leaked the Pentagon Papers. And Obama's used it how many--?
CHARLES LEWIS: Eight times. It's unbelievable. And--
BILL MOYERS: The Espionage Act.
CHARLES LEWIS: Right, the Espionage Act. And who would've ever imagined that? This is something Obama never talked about in campaigns. He never publicly said he was going to go do this. And like a lot of things in his administration, he's trying to have it both ways.
He's supporting a shield law, to some extent, in Congress for journalists. But on the other hand he's criminalizing investigative reporting by going after sources. And so he's throwing a bone, or being accommodating to the national security establishment in Washington, which, you know, in just a couple-year period did 76 million classified documents. Far more than any time in US history. And so he's a prisoner to that community to a large extent. And this is a fellow who didn't know anything about foreign policy. Was a state legislator in Illinois and was a one-term senator. And suddenly he's become more hawkish against reporters than George W. Bush. I don’t know anyone who saw that coming.
BILL MOYERS: What does he know we don't know about?
CHARLES LEWIS: That is really a peculiar thing. And it's not been adequately ventilated. And journalists haven't asked Obama directly the few times they had direct access.
BILL MOYERS: So what's at stake if we do silence and punish whistleblowers?
CHARLES LEWIS: Well, what's at stake is whistleblowers won't come forward. They know they're going to be prosecuted. They know they're being monitored. A lot of sources have dried up. There have been some panels in the last year, too, in the journalistic realm. And folks have talked about how it's harder to find people to talk now because they fear retribution.
They know that the surveillance has gotten incredibly intense. And the stakes are incredibly high. And they get that. And so a lot of folks are who might be inclined to leak and leakers are wonderful. Because they tell reporters what they don't already have and they can't find in any document. They're very essential.
BILL MOYERS: If Edward Snowden had offered you the NSA documents, would you have published them?
CHARLES LEWIS: I would've liked to. He didn't call.
BILL MOYERS: But if he had?
CHARLES LEWIS: I would. I would have. You know, when I ran the Center for Public Integrity, we posted the Patriot Two Act. We were told by the top aide to the attorney general, "Don't do it. You will be sorry if you do." And we quoted them by name in our article and we posted within minutes.
BILL MOYERS: For my younger viewers, what's the Patriot Two Act?
CHARLES LEWIS: The Patriot-- it was called the Patriot Two Act, the Domestic Enhancement Security Act of 2003, to be precise. And they were introducing it just days before the invasion of Iraq, perhaps hoping no one would notice. It took the Patriot Act, which substantially limited civil liberties for large number of Americans and in general, upped the ante about security in America and it took it to a whole another place.
CHARLES LEWIS: The Patriot Two Act was far more restrictive.
BILL MOYERS: When you released this document against the wishes of the government, were there any personal repercussions to you and your organization?
CHARLES LEWIS: There weren't any repercussions from that. But I, you know, I had other things happen. We were sued by Russian billionaire oligarchs for a story we did about Dick Cheney and Halliburton and their business activities in Siberia. That suit went on for five years. It was dismissed.
But, you know, generally, we're not this is a fortunate country in that sense. We don't generally kill journalists or even beat them up, unlike other countries.
BILL MOYERS: Can democracy die of too many lies?
CHARLES LEWIS: I don't think there's any question about it. You're usually the one who quotes scripture. But my only thing I could ever quote, I may not even have it perfectly right, but from Proverbs. "When there is no vision, the people perish." That happens to be one of the all-time, most interesting statements I've ever heard.
And I think if you don't know what's going to happen and you don't know what is happening, how are you going to embrace any problem of our time with any seriousness? If all you're ever doing are two parties fighting over everything and everything is debatable, and you can never reach a consensus on any single thing, and you don't even have common goals anymore, what are we here?
Starting to wonder. And so I actually-- it goes pretty deep here. I think this is so fundamental. And I don't-- I think the only thing we have that we can learn is I do believe that old saw, information is power. I think if we learn what the truth is, we find out what is actually happening, and we have the facts, we can act on them. But there are still many Americans who won't. I reconcile that, myself to that. But there are a lot of Americans who need to frankly, start paying attention.
BILL MOYERS: The book is “935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America's Moral Integrity.” Chuck Lewis, thanks for being with me.
CHARLES LEWIS: Thanks for having me.
BILL MOYERS: At our website, BillMoyers.com, we’ll connect you to that Iraq War Card, a searchable database of the “935 Lies” that led us down the path to bloodshed and chaos.
That’s all at BillMoyers.com. I’ll see you there and I’ll see you here, next time.